SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - When Hurricane Maria devastated 80 percent of the electrical grid in Puerto Rico, September 20, 2017, it became evident that materials would be a critical part of the repair effort.
Natural disasters in the continental United States had depleted supplies, and the geographical separation of the island limited transport to slow barges and air transport, which could not be used for shipping the larger materials like power poles.
Unlike a stateside disaster response, no railroad or over the road trucking was available for delivering materials to the island.
Materials that in many cases, still needed to be manufactured.
The acronym "BoM" stands for "Bill of Materials," a phrase that's commonplace among logisticians.
Task Force Power Restoration BoM Squad is led by Frank Ford, Officer in Charge of Task Force Power Restoration Materials Section
"Frank is a consummate professional and one of the most unselfish people I have ever worked with in my career," stated Rhonda Mustafaa, TFPR Chief Logistician. "His dedication to his job and his people is unparalleled and he epitomizes the true definition of a leader."
USACE has received 40,026 poles and 3,199 miles of conductor wire to date and 13,479 poles and 433 miles of conductor wire are slated to arrive in the next 14 days.
Most power restoration material on the island is received by barge at either Port of San Juan or Port of Ponce where it is inventoried within 24 hours of arrival and made available for pickup for the contractor. Most material is picked up with 24-48 hours and placed into the field for contractor use.
"As the Corps assists in this unprecedented and unique challenge, the old adage [amateur talk tactics, professional talk logistics] is particularly poignant. The world class professionals in the BoM Squad led by Ford have accomplished this herculean task day in and day out by acquiring all required repair materials for the restoration," stated TFPR Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Cullen Jones. "The ability to quickly and efficiently acquire, ship, receive, and distribute critical repair parts across the island has been the lynchpin of our mission success to date."
To date, BoM Squad has received 23,972,906 pieces of material and the Defense Logistics Agency has executed $222.95M in purchases.
During the time between February 27, and March 12, DLA and U.S. Transportation Command will deliver an additional 8,023,691 pieces of material.
"As our mission transitions, the BoM squad will also execute the critical responsible transfer of repair inventory to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority as they push past the emergency repairs conducted during the federal response towards full restoration, said Jones."